More than any other piece of NASCAR merchandise, die-cast cars tell the tale of a race season. The best-selling die-cast are those that capture a historic moment in time, commemorate an incredible win, or excite fans with a special new paint scheme. This season was no exception. The best-selling Lionel Racing die-cast of the year celebrated popular victories, throwback paint schemes, and the passing of the torch from a NASCAR legend to a rising star.
Check out some of the "top" die-cast below and let the race for 2016 begin!
A new primary sponsor for the most popular driver in NASCAR drove Earnhardt's Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet die-cast to the top of our annual bestsellers list.
When news broke that Gordon was bringing back his iconic Rainbow paint scheme for one last race, fans went crazy. The result? The die-cast was the hottest special paint scheme of the year.
This Mountain Dew throwback made its one and only appearance in the April race at Bristol Motor Speedway – and it was a bona fide hit with Earnhardt collectors.
There's nothing quite like an Earnhardt win at Talladega. The excitement and emotion on display after Earnhardt's first victory of 2015 put this die-cast solidly in our top five.
It may have been Gordon's last year, but 2015 began with a new sponsor announcement for the No. 24 team as 3M came on board as a primary sponsor.
Rising star Elliott made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in this No. 25 NAPA Chevrolet SS, which pushed his die-cast sales into our top 10.
For the final race in his legendary career, Gordon drove this silver paint scheme at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he competed for a fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Mix a win at Daytona International Speedway by Earnhardt with a patriotic paint scheme and you've got a die-cast that's bound to make its way into the top 10.
This tribute to NASCAR great Cale Yarborough put Valvoline front and center on Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet SS at Darlington Raceway.
In one of the most memorable moments of the year, Gordon punched his ticket for Homestead with a ninth win at Martinsville Speedway. This die-cast marks the final victory of Gordon's incredible career.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Insurance Talladega Win
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Stars and Stripes Daytona Win
Jeff Gordon AARP Members Advantage Martinsville Win
Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's
Las Vegas Win
Jeff Gordon Dupont 1995 Darlington Win
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon didn't just have the top two die-cast cars of the year, they dominated the list of best-selling cars which was unveiled today by Lionel Racing – The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR.
"Since we began publishing our top 10 list in 2011, we haven't seen such a dominant performance by two drivers as we have this year," said Howard Hitchcock, President of Lionel Racing. "Their sales numbers are a testament to their impact on the sport and their ability to connect with the most passionate NASCAR fans – our collectors – in a big way."
Earnhardt's new primary paint scheme drove sales of his No. 88 Nationwide Insurance die-cast to the top spot, while Gordon's wildly popular throwback, the No. 24 Axalta Rainbow Chevrolet, was the company's second biggest seller.
"We knew when the Axalta Rainbow car was first announced that this would be one of the most important die-cast of the year to longtime fans of the sport," Hitchcock said. "I think we were just as thrilled as Gordon's fans were to see this iconic paint scheme on track in his final year of competition."
The only driver to make the Lionel Racing list that wasn't named Earnhardt or Gordon was Chase Elliott. Elliott's No. 25 NAPA Chevrolet SS die-cast ranked a solid sixth.
"Elliott's popularity with NASCAR fans is incredibly impressive when you consider he has competed in the sport for just two years," Hitchcock said. "That fan appeal is directly reflected in his sales numbers – his Cup debut car outsold several of our historically best-selling drivers."